2021-01-21 11:13Press release

New gender equality report identifies diversity as untapped potential in Swedish film

The Swedish Film Institute presents a new study on gender equality: Which Women? The report investigates working conditions in the Swedish film and TV industry for older women, and women who are being racialised. The Film Institute concludes that diversity and increased representation poses an untapped potential in Swedish film, both commercially and qualitatively.  

Which Women? is a qualitative research study on the working conditions for older women and women who are being racialised, in the Swedish film and TV industry. The report indicates that the industry is at risk of losing relevant talent and missing out on important stories by continuing to reproduce stereotypical social imagery. The Swedish Film Institute therefore concludes that diversity and increased representation poses an untapped potential in Swedish film, both commercially and qualitatively. 

The basis of the report consists of 19 in-depth interviews with established female actors, directors, producers and screenwriters at the ages 27 to 66. Among other things, the interviwees in the study point out:

  • Women generally have access to lower budgets in their film productions, in all key positions. Female storytelling is considered to have a lower audience potential and to constitute a greater financial risk.

  • There is a distinct fixation on youth and certain beauty ideals in the industry, leading to an underrepresentation of groups in society that do not meet those standards.

  • The interviewees testify that they are often assigned the role of involuntary diversity experts, who are expected to educate the production team on set.

  • Typecasting is a recurring problem found in every part of the filmmaking process. It occurs in many different ways, from stereotypical role characters to exotification and total neglection.

  • Work environments in which violations and discrimination occur risk becoming deprofessionalised, in the sense that energy goes to addressing various forms of violations. It also steals time, and therefore money, from the production.

  • The film industry is largely a freelance industry, where personal networks are important for future job possibilities.This can lead to a culture of silence in which one is afraid to stand up against colleagues and decision makers.

    Which Women? – download the report here

About The Swedish Film Institute

The Swedish Film Institute is a collective voice for film in Sweden, and a meeting-place for experiences and insights that elevate film on all levels. We preserve and make available Sweden’s film heritage, work to educate children and young people in film and moving images, support the production, distribution and screening of valuable film, and represent Swedish film internationally. A broad diversity of narratives establishes discussions and insights that strengthen the individual and our democracy. Together, we enable more people to create, experience and be enriched by film.


Jan Göransson
Head of Press
Jan Göransson
Per Perstrand
Communications Officer – Press
Per Perstrand